September 2001 News

Worried Hurriyat changes track

13 September 2001
The Indian Express

New Delhi: THE All Parties Hurriyat Conference has joined the global chorus of condemnation of the terrorist attacks in the US. The separatist conglomerate’s well-measured reaction to the tragedy was announced today after a sudden meeting called by the chairman, Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat, in Srinagar. Bhat’s ‘‘absolute condemnation of the terrorist act,’’ today was in contrast to his initial reaction when he wanted the world community to take lesson from the tragedy and solve outstanding political disputes. The emphatically pro-peace statement calls for a global approach in dealing with the threat to terrorism. Sources however said the Hurriyat leaders were worried about the political fallout of the New York attacks on their cause. The images of a nervous-looking Pakistani President disowning the country’s links with terrorists were demoralising, confessed a Hurriyat leader. ‘‘Pakistan is known to be our biggest supporter and when the country is in a spot for its links with Taliban (that harbours prime suspect in US attacks Osama Bin Laden) our cause would automatically suffer,’’ a leader of the conglomerate told The Indian Express. Also, the leaders confess, the US and other western forces would look differently at the Kashmir issue due to the religious overtones and their fears about anything ‘Islamic’. Sources said the Hurriyat leadership was also perturbed over the reported statement of the Hizbul Mujahideen chief Sayeed Salahudin from Islamabad in which he had welcomed the attack on the US. ‘‘How could he say so when the Pakistani leadership looked so perturbed and shaken by the apparent fallout of the US incidents on the country,’’ a Hurriyat leader remarked. Sources said this was one of the reasons why Bhat called the meeting of the Hurriyat Executive Committee members so that a clear message of condemnation goes out from the platform. Sources said that the Jamait-e-islami leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani did not attend the meeting and instead sent his representative. For the majority of the Kashmiri militants, Osama remains a great cult figure. Analysts point out that his involvement in the US attacks would only heighten his stature among the young Kashmiris and provide a psychological boost to the insurgency.


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